Team Records: LA Clippers (32-12) at Portland (21-21)
Game Info: 7 PM-TV on KGW, Radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.
Vegas Line: Portland -1.5
Refs: James Capers, Bennie Adams, Josh Tiven
The Skinny: After finally ending their long six game losing streak, the Blazers begin a back to back home and home against the Clippers Saturday night. The Clippers have been struggling as of late as well, losing three in a row. The Clippers will be without the services of Chris Paul, but are 3-2 without him this season.
Last Time They Met: The Clippers took control early and cruised home, winning by 13 in a game that wasn’t nearly that close.
Projected Clippers Lineup:
PF-Blake Griffin (Oklahoma-3rd Season) 18.1 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 3.4 APG.
SF-Caron Butler- (Connecticut-11th Season)-9.6 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 1 APG.
C-DeAndre Jordan (Texas A&M-5th Season)-8.8 PPG, 6.8 RPG, .4 APG
SG-Willie Green (Detroit Mercy-10th Season)-6.4 PPG, 1.5 RPG, .9 APG.
PG-Eric Bledsoe (Kentucky-3rd Season)-8.9 PPG, 3 RPG, 2.7 APG.
Player to Watch-DeAndre Jordan (pictured at right) – We all know about Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, but the key to the Clippers success this season may well lie with their only legitimate center, DeAndre Jordan. Jordan does a few things very well and almost everything else poorly. He is a phenomenal shot blocker, rebounder and dunker, and he is a strong enough interior defender that most opponents don’t dare attack him directly close to the rim. However, he is one of the worst free throw shooters in the NBA, shooting a pathetic 43.8% from the line for his career. Nonetheless, he will be key for the Clippers if they are to beat Portland.
Did You Know?: The only team in American or Canadian major pro sports to have played longer than the LA Clippers (who came into existence as the Buffalo Braves in 1970) and never reached their sport’s championship game/round is the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals of MLB (which began play only 1 year earlier in 1969).
Song of the Day: “Lob City” by Tyga-A popular rap/highlights video celebrating the Clippers and their “lob city” nickname. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-SG Elliot Williams (Achilles), SF Sasha Pavlovic (Foot).
LA Clippers: Out-PG Chauncey Billups (Foot), PF Trey Tompkins (Bone Bruise), Doubtful-PG Chris Paul (Knee).
Re-Evaluating the LA Clippers: The Importance of the Deep Ball
We all know that the Clippers are known as “lob city” and for good reason because they produce their fair share of amazing lob dunks virtually every game. Yet, what really separates wins from losses for the Clippers is their ability to open up these lobs by making deep shots, especially 3s. When the Clippers win, they hit from deep but when they don’t, they lose. They might have to get hot again Saturday to beat Portland in the first of the home and home.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They limit LA’s 3 point makes. The Clippers are going to get their dunks in but dunks alone will not win them games. If Portland can limit their 3 point effectiveness, they should win Saturday.
LA Clippers win if: They outrebound Portland. The Clippers can struggle to outrebound opponents at times, which seems odd given the players they have on their team. If they can nonetheless manage to outrebound Portland they should be able to win Thursday.